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Board Member Volunteers for Mission

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Board Member Volunteers for Mission
Posted on 11/06/2019
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Portland Board of Public Education member Sarah Thompson will be among about 50 volunteers going to the Dominican Republic in January on a Lifetouch Memory Mission to help build an addition to a school in a remote rural community.

The volunteers will focus on expanding a school built in Rio Grande, an isolated, mountainous community, by previous Lifetouch Memory Missions from 2016-2018. So many children want to attend the new school that it isn’t big enough to accommodate them. This new mission will make it possible for more families in the community to send their children to school.

Thompson is collecting toothpaste and toothbrushes to bring to the students. Those willing to donate such items should drop them off at the front desk of Central Office, located at 353 Cumberland Avenue.

Lifetouch Memory Mission, a philanthropic partner of Lifetouch, a photography company based in Minnesota, is an annual volunteer trip that provides humanitarian aid to underprivileged communities around the world. Since 2000, Lifetouch has organized 16 intensive weeklong volunteer service trips to eight destinations around the world.

In 2015, Lifetouch leaders visited Rio Grande, Dominican Republic, for the first time.

This small community had only a one-room school for about 18 students. The rest of the children had to walk 5 miles round-trip for a half-day of school, or if they were old enough, to work to help support their family. Faced with this decision, most children did not attend school.

Lifetouch teams from 2016 - 2018 built a bright yellow two-story school and a cafeteria for the families of Rio Grande. But 70 new families have moved into the community because of the school, and the building isn’t big enough to accommodate that many students.

“Moved by the commitment of the community to educating their children, we made a decision,” according to Lifetouch. “The 2020 Lifetouch Memory Mission is going back to Rio Grande to add on to our school.”

School board members and educators were among those invited to apply for the mission. The deadline to apply was this past September and a random drawing to select volunteers was held in October. Thompson was among those selected.

To view a video of the school being completed in 2018, click HERE

To read about the 2020 Lifetouch Memory Mission, click HERE.

To learn more about Lifetouch Memory Mission, go to: https://lifetouchmemorymission.com/?fbclid=IwAR3zQebT1IZHR4q4tGWDv96c7mX1VeVM1PFWqa-2f7uDNHnFyEL4ELjplQ8